, defined as “the intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit,” is quite the tricky subject. You can run a gamut of such extremely emotional and volatile responses that anything but a good old-fashioned self-argument seems narrow-minded.
So allow me to do some progressive thinking.
First, I’ll look at some of the reasons people are so against
Euthanasia as a practice. Many people, myself not necessarily included, believe that it devalues human life. If someone else can make the decision about whether you live or die
, does it lower our own innate sense of importance? And if that inherent value is representative of why we hold life so dear, whose right would it be to lessen that?
Another popular argument is that medical professionals should not be involved directly in the intentional killing of someone, especially if it becomes a means of health care cost containment. And okay, I have a major problem with that second part. I understand that health care costs are rising by the second, and that keeping someone alive may be so costly that it puts a family into a serious hole. But when death becomes a way to save money at the hospital, I think we really start to get in a gray area.
As for medical professionals, those doctors and nurses who have taken a sworn oath to above all else do no harm, it must be a pretty tough situation. Who’s to say that someone suffering at such an intense level wouldn’t be harmed less by a mercy death? Since no one really knows what the next step is, does a final say by your medical group make more sense than letting nature take its course? I’d argue that it doesn’t.
In fact, if I was to get on board with Euthanasia, I’d personally only want it administered under the guide of those I held closest to me. You could have the doctor point to which button they had to press, and then I’d want them to send me on.
The last major argument against this practice is the “slippery slope” effect, which points to the fact that if Euthanasia is legalized for the terminally ill, where can we really stop it? This is the most intriguing to me, as I agree that pretty soon you could have people in dire – but not hopeless – situations that would be looking for an easy way out. And what if it became so widely practiced that it could be done without consent, with a group of doctors deciding when it’s ultimately your time to pass.
I’m afraid that one scares me quite a bit.
But what about those who are for it
? Those poor souls who may have had to watch someone they love die in agony for months? They have an equally valid, and deeply moving reason to believe Euthanasia is the answer. After all, it’s sometimes the only way to relieve such extreme pain, and can be relief when quality of life is so low that things become unbearable.
There’s also a cost associated with medical care, as I wrote earlier. In the darkest of situations, perhaps it’s better to focus resources on those who want to get better and have a chance to battle out of their hole. While focusing on money is probably not at the heart of this issue, it certainly can’t be ignored in today’s economy.
And the big one, which ties into the quality of life issue, is that of a person’s freedom to choose. If someone is ready to die, and they would rather put a gun to their own head than live another moment in their physical toiling, what happens when they can’t even operate a weapon? How long do we have to let people grind out their lives from day to day, whether they might be catatonic or completely incapacitated by an illness? And who gets the final say?
Like I wrote earlier, it’s a tricky subject. So tricky I may have just had the longest argument with myself that I’ve ever had. And the only conclusion I can come to is… you can’t really fault anyone. You never know how you’ll react unless you’re forced to.
Let’s just hope you’re never forced to.